Dating With a Disability
Last updated: August 2022
A few years back, I wrote about my dating experiences while having AS. Guess who’s back for another article on dating!
Since identifying as a disabled person, my experiences with dating have changed drastically. Some for the better, some for the much, much worse.
I’m upfront about my illness and disability
First things first, I always put in my bio that I’m chronically ill. To be specific, that section of my bio says “I have a form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis - I use my walker to help with my chronic pain and fatigue. (if you have a problem with me using a walker, don’t waste my time, and please swipe left.)" I also post a picture with my walker on my profile.
I try to weed out as many rude people as possible with my bio. Surprisingly though, some of them still make their way through. They either don’t read my bio or just don’t care to respect my boundaries.
A while back, my therapist (who’s also disabled) pitched the idea to me to start putting my illness and disability in my profile. At first, it was a scary idea, but after some not-so-great conversations about my illness, I decided this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be upfront about it so that most of the rude people would just disappear.
My bad experiences
I’ve been back on the dating scene for a few months now, so I feel that I’ve gathered enough experiences to share.
I get quite a few messages asking if I’ll be using it forever, and what I use it for. I don’t know what it is about being disabled, but everyone seems to think they have a pass to learn very personal information about me.
When someone asks me if I’ll be using it for the foreseeable future, it makes me feel like if that’s the case, they won’t want to be with me. Who cares if I will be? I’m still a human and I have feelings!
I also get messages here and there telling me they would never guess I had a disability, and that I look “normal.” News flash: that is not the compliment you think it is.
I also get messages here and there asking about sex. Once again, people think they can just ask something super personal right off the bat. I recently got a message asking about sex (during the first conversation, mind you), so I stood my ground. I asked them if that’s how they talk to people. Getting extremely personal information right away.
They got defensive and swore at me, told me I am faking it, and called me a liberal swine. It all escalated very quickly, but don’t worry, I reported them, and hopefully, action was taken. That’s one of the worse experiences.
My good experiences
I have so many more dating horror stories, but maybe that will be another article. I also want to share some of my good experiences, because there is still hope!
Most people don’t care that I use a walker. They actually love that it’s pink and decorated! Most people also just want to learn more. Since I specifically put that I have AS in my bio, a lot of people actually Google it before they even message me!
A lot of people don’t have experience with knowing people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, so I find that most people just want to learn more. They want to know what it’s like, and how I live with it.
Honestly, sometimes it feels like I’m being interviewed over and over again about my illness. But I’d much rather be interviewed than attacked for being disabled.
Dating is hard
Being single with an illness and disability is really hard. I won’t sugarcoat it. I post a lot of the bad conversations I have on dating apps on my Instagram because some of the messages are just so out there that I need to share them.
I know that good people are out there, people that don’t care and want to help me, but online dating makes them harder to find. I still have hope, though!
Have you ever had to take a leave of absence from work due to your symptoms?
Join the conversation